Condamine Alliance has adopted a new way to boost biodiversity in the Condamine catchment and initial results have proved promising.
The group has just released the first year report card in its biodiversity project, Enrich, which is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future Biodiversity Fund.
The five year project is working in targeted locations across the catchment which have been chosen for their special vegetation characteristics and possibility of maximum conservation gains.
Each location is approximately 625ha in size and contains at least 20% woody vegetation cover.
The project team consulted 10 years of bioregion specific science which indicated that bird and reptile diversity responds markedly when woody vegetation cover increases to between 20% to 30% at the 625ha scale. They then used state wide land cover government datasets to find locations that matched this criteria.
Project leader, and Condamine Alliance Principal Project Officer Community, Alexandra Kennedy said the project was all about targeted action for maximum results.
“Native plants and wildlife in Australia continue to decline in spite of the good work that has been undertaken in the past,” Ms Kennedy said.
“Targeting areas which are likely to respond well to concentrated action is a good way to achieve some valuable biodiversity outcomes,” she said.
“Our aim is to increase the vegetation cover at each location by 10% in 5 years to provide functional habitats for wildlife.”
To achieve this, land managers in the targeted locations have been invited to join the project and receive assistance to protect and encourage natural regeneration, revegetate with local native plants, manage weeds, control feral animals, and plan for fire management.
The project team works with eligible land managers to create an activity plan of suitable onground works which are then undertaken by a team of professional contractors. The diversity of plants and wildlife is also monitored before and after work is completed at each site.
In the project’s first year, 2286 native plants have been planted and 1300 hectares have been managed for weeds. Feral animal management activities have also taken place across 650 hectares.
Future report cards will track the progress made in these key areas throughout the five year project.
“Not only is this an excellent opportunity for landholders to receive practical assistance to boost biodiversity on their land but it is also recognition of their land’s special vegetation characteristics and potential to produce significant biodiversity benefits,” Ms Kennedy said.
“Increasing vegetation, reducing weeds, removing feral animals and protecting against fire will also help towards the land’s productivity and profitability,” she said.